Community Foundation invests in downtown Wrigley Center: ‘It will attract visitors from all over’

The Wrigley Center development is the sort of transformative project that has the potential to influence the direction of downtown Port Huron for years to come.

The $13 million mixed-use development will feature 36 new condos, performance and event space, and spots for retail and restaurants. Such developments embody the downtown development vision of creating a place where people want to live-work-play. This particular development covers all three.

It’s no wonder then that the Community Foundation of St. Clair County recently announced that it has committed $350,000 to the completion of the project, which is led by local developers Larry Jones and Brent Marshall. As Port Huron City Manager, James Freed, said, “This is a huge win for the City. We’re looking forward to renewed growth and investments as we move into 2021.”

The investment itself is known as a mission-related investment. While organizations like the Community Foundation only have a fraction of their assets available for grant-making, mission-related investments pull money from their assets in the stock market to actively create local jobs and grow the tax base.

The Wrigley Center is one such project, taking the old Art Van building downtown and creating something new and exciting that can lead to the growth of downtown Port Huron.

We spoke with Dr. Randa Jundi-Samman, board chair of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, and asked her all about it.

Dr. Randa Jundi-SammanThe Keel: This project has been described as a “mission-related investment.” What is a mission-related investment and why are they important?

Randa Jundi-Samman: Mission-related investments are projects that enhance the economic prosperity in our Blue Water area. They are impact investments.

Keel: How does this project fall under that category?

Randa: This project will have a huge impact on the economic growth and the downtown growth of Port Huron and the whole region.

Keel: What other mission-related investments has the Community Foundation of St. Clair County made in the region?

Randa: Over the years, the Community Foundation has done many mission-related investments, such as the St. Clair Plaza Courtyard in downtown St. Clair, the Inn on Water Street Hotel in Marine City, the Witt Building on Black River in Port Huron, the SC4 Dorms, and the Atrium Cafe in Downtown Port Huron.

Keel: This project has also been described as “crucial” for Port Huron. Why? What makes it so exciting, so important? Why is it worth the investment?

Randa: The Art Van building has been the Blue Meets Green top priority for years. The building has been vacant for several years. This project that Larry Jones and Brent Marshall are bringing, known as the Wrigley Center, LLC, will have an event-performance space on the main floor surrounded with little shops and eateries. It will also have about 36 lofts on the top floors.

This project will increase foot traffic to downtown Port Huron and support its downtown growth, and it will support the economic growth for the whole region. Our board felt very excited to support such a project that will have a great impact on our area, and that makes it well worth the large investment. We are all about supporting downtowns and economic growth.

Keel: What sort of economic impact can this project have on the region beyond the construction of the actual development itself? What can it do for the region?

Randa: The economic growth that this project will bring will affect not only the City of Port Huron, but the whole region. It will bring more jobs, more talent, and, more importantly, more foot traffic to downtown, and to the area. We are hoping it will attract visitors from all over.

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